Spotting vision problems early is the best way to prevent substantial vision loss. This is why it is so important to have your eyes examined annually by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Certain vision problems, like Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), may present little or no symptoms early, making it almost impossible to diagnose without the help of a professional eye doctor. Other eye diseases, like glaucoma, present no symptoms until you begin to lose vision. And any vision loss that occurs as a result of glaucoma cannot be reversed. So you can clearly see the importance of regular, comprehensive eye exams.
It also doesn’t hurt to be well-educated about common vision problems. This is why we have decided to start a new mini-series of blogs titled, “Spotting Vision Problems.” Our first topic will be Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
The leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over the age of 60, AMD is a progressive eye disease that causes damage to the Macula, which is the most concentrated central portion of the retina. There are two types of AMD:
- Dry AMD: The dry form of AMD, the more common of the two forms, is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen, in the macula. As these drusen grow in size, they may distort your vision.
- Wet AMD: The wet form of AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which leak blood and fluid into the retina, distorting vision.
Signs and Symptoms of AMD
Unfortunately, AMD presents no symptoms early. However, as the eye disease progresses, you may begin to notice the following:
- Dim, blurry spot in the middle of your vision
- Diminished or changed color perception
If you experience either of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor- ophthalmologist or optometrist – as soon as possible. Any change in your vision is a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical attention.
There is currently no cure for AMD, but the eye disease can be treated, slowing or haulting vision loss. Treatment options include:
- Anti-angiogenesis drugs can be used to treat wet AMD, blocking the development of new blood vessels and leakage from the abnormal vessels within the eye.
- The Age-Related Eye Disease Study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed the benefit of vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper for certain individuals with AMD.
- Another possible option is laser therapy. High-energy lasers can be used to destroy actively growing abnormal blood vessels that occur in macular degeneration. Then there is photodynamic laser therapy, in which a light-sensitive drug (Visudyne) is used to damage the abnormal blood vessels then a cold laser is used to activate the drug and damage the abnormal blood vessels.
If you have any questions about Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) or wish to schedule an appointment with the Anne Arundel Eye Center, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrists Dr. Nathan Frank and Dr. Corinne Casey, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or visiting AnneArundelEyeCenter.com today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube as well!
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.